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Disneyland Article
Splash Mountain Is Closing Is The Song Of The South Story Finally Going Away

Splash Mountain
Julie Tremaine
January 11, 2022
January 19, 2022
Disneyland first announced changes to Splash Mountain nearly two years ago, with an intention to make the ride more inclusive. While the company has maintained that the plans are still in place, it doesn't appear that major changes are happening any time soon.

Plans to remove the Brer Rabbit theming on Splash Mountain, the log flume water ride that opened in 1989 in Disneyland and 1992 in Walt Disney World, were announced in June 2020 but have not yet been implemented. With Disneyland’s closure of the ride as of Jan. 10, it seemed possible that the re-theming to a storyline from “The Princess and the Frog,” Disney’s only movie with a Black princess, might finally be happening — but Disney has confirmed that the ride closure isn't related to those changes.

"Splash Mountain will undergo a seasonal winter refurbishment that is expected to take one to two months," a Disneyland official told SFGATE.

As of press time, Disneyland has posted which rides will be closed for refurbishment through Feb. 21; Splash Mountain is listed as unavailable through that date. At Walt Disney World, Splash Mountain is listed as closed for refurbishment through Feb. 10.

The current story line of Splash Mountain is based on “Song of the South,” a movie so racist and problematic that it was never released on home video in the U.S. and isn’t available to stream on Disney Plus. In March 2020, just a few months before the ride change was announced, then-Disney executive chairman Bob Iger told shareholders that the film is “not appropriate in today’s world,” so much so that the company wouldn’t even release it with an “outdated cultural depictions” disclaimer, as Disney has with other films on its streaming platform like "Peter Pan."

“The new concept is inclusive — one that all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by, and it speaks to the diversity of the millions of people who visit our parks each year,” the company said about the reimagining in a statement in June 2020.

Since that announcement, Disneyland and Walt Disney World have revamped Jungle Cruise to remove problematic cultural depictions. Disney announced those changes in January 2021 and opened Disneyland’s updated version in July of the same year, with the Florida version following shortly afterward. This fall, Disneyland removed sexualized depictions of Jessica Rabbit on Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin.

"Disneyland pushed the planned 2022 opening date for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway to 2023, clearing a spot on the calendar for the Splash Mountain makeover," the Orange County Register wrote. "But the lack of any mention of Splash Mountain during the Destination D23 event and recent comments from Disney World officials suggest the project will take longer than initially expected."

There are additional “Princess and the Frog” features being added to New Orleans Square, the area adjacent to Splash Mountain, including a gumbo restaurant reflective of Tiana’s Place, the restaurant the movie's main character opens in New Orleans. A version of Tiana’s Place is also offered on some Disney Cruise Line ships.
Attractions Referenced

Jungle Cruise

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin

Splash Mountain

Tianas Bayou Adventure

Lands Referenced

New Orleans Square

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